A recent survey of 1,000 American adults showed that food safety was top of mind in 2009.
Hunter Public Relations commissioned market research firm Wakefield to conduct the survey, which showed food safety at the top of the list of memorable food headlines, followed by increased demand at food banks and a decrease in consumer spending on food.
The year started out with news that Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) was recalling its peanut ingredients for Salmonella contamination. Over 700 illnesses and nine deaths were attributed to the Salmonella outbreak associated with PCA products, and thousands of food products manufactured with PCA peanuts as an ingredient were recalled–some as recently as last week.
Next, Nestle USA made headlines when the company’s cookie dough and brownie dough products were recalled for E. coli contamination. That major recall was followed by two E. coli outbreaks traced to ground beef that sickened dozens in the Northeast this fall.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration was in the hot-seat for much of the year, as questions abounded over whether the agency is adequately equipped to deal with large foodborne illness outbreaks.
Congress has done its part to make food safety top of mind. The House passed the Food Safety Enhancement Act in July, and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee approved the Food Safety Modernization Act in November.
Lastly, Food Safety News, the first online newspaper dedicated to reporting on all issues related to food safety, was launched in September.